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Press Release

Thornton Woman Sentenced To Federal Prison For Fraud Against The Government

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DENVER – Paula King (aka Paula Pfeiffer), age 69 of Thornton, Colorado, was sentenced on November 4th, 2014 by U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer to serve 9 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years on supervised release for defrauding the United States of over one hundred thirty thousand dollars, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General and the Railroad Retirement Board Office of Inspector General announced.  King was ordered to pay a total of $131,443 in restitution ($89,205 to the Social Security Administration and $42,238 to the Railroad Retirement Board), and to report to a Bureau of Prisons facility within 15 days of designation.

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, beginning in 1994, King obtained Social Security Supplemental Income benefits to which she was not entitled, and continued to receive them for 17 years.  She also obtained widow’s benefits from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board to which she was not entitled.  In order to obtain these benefits, King failed to disclose to the agencies that she had remarried and certified that she had not been remarried, knowing that her remarriage would make her ineligible for the benefits. She used two sets of names, dates of birth, and social security numbers to conceal her fraud.

During the sentencing hearing, the defendant argued that due to her age and poor health, she should receive a sentence to probation or in-home detention.  The court found that the fact that King is now in poor health does not mitigate her criminal culpability, and that a sentence to prison was necessary in this case, adding that such a sentence would send a message to others who may believe that being in ill health precludes a sentence of incarceration despite the one’s criminal conduct.

The investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General and the Railroad Retirement Board Office of the Inspector General.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Kaufman.

Updated June 22, 2015